Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

Currently: 84° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Joe Downtown: Decades-old safe discovered in Atomic Liquors yields only old receipts

Image

Bill Hughes

A view of Atomic Liquors, the oldest standing bar in Las Vegas, on Fremont Street, June 27, 2012.

Click to enlarge photo

A floor safe at Atomic Liquors, 917 Fremont St., yielded several receipts from the 1950s, but no riches.

Map of The Atomic

The Atomic

917 Fremont St., Las Vegas

New owners of Atomic Liquors on Fremont Street, one of the oldest free-standing taverns in Las Vegas, finally opened a floor safe discovered months ago during remodeling.

With local tales of the Atomic’s customers including the likes of the Rat Pack, Barbra Streisand and union honcho Jimmy Hoffa, the owners had fun imagining the safe's contents.

Turns out, imagination and reality didn’t meet. The safe was opened Sunday and contained little beyond some 59-year-old receipts for soda and liquor.

One receipt dated June 23, 1954, was from Redwood Publishing Company for what appeared to be an Atomic advertisement, which ran for $10 per week.

Atomic's owners also said in a news release another receipt showed the Atomic paid $1.35 for a case of 8-ounce sodas from Pepsi (it would have been $2.35 but the Atomic received a $1 credit for returning an empty case).

Bar owners paid $218 for 55 cases and 12 quart-sized bottles of beer.

Co-owner Lance Johns said he would put the safe's receipts on display; he has ordered thick, clear glass to place over the safe so people can see the receipts plus other items found during the remodeling.

The tavern became “Atomic Liquors” in 1952 because customers used its roof to watch atomic blasts from the Nevada Test Site to the northwest. In 1957, it received the first package liquor license and off-sales permit in Las Vegas.

Purchased last summer, the Atomic, 917 Fremont St., is expected to reopen in eight to 10 weeks.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comment so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.